1. When you awake in the morning, which of the following are your first thoughts more likely to be like:
- a.) What you didn’t get done yesterday, or an unresolved issue from the past
- b.) All of the things you have to do, and worry about how you will get them all done
- c.) Being frustrated about what others have said or done
- d.) Taking a deep breath, centering yourself and deciding what’s for breakfast
2. If you go to get a coffee in the morning, and they do not have the kind you always get/want your reaction would be most close to which of the following:
- a.) To think, “That’s just my luck, nothing ever goes right for me.”
- b.) To think, “If I can’t have this drink I won’t I won’t have good energy for the day now, and I won’t be able to get everything done.”
- c.) To express your frustration to the coffee barista, scolding him/her on how he/she isn’t doing the job right.
- d.) To pause and ask for a recommendation of something different and try something new.
2. If you got to work and were told you had an impromptu presentation to do, your internal dialogue would most likely be:
- a.) “Of course I do, everything always falls on my lap. This isn’t fair.”
- b.) “What if it doesn’t go well? I’m not prepared! This is terrible.”
- c.) “How could they do this to me? Well, now I will definitely start telling people everything they are doing wrong.”
- d.) “Hmm, this could be a great opportunity. I will try my best and go do some research and practice now.”
3. You find out after work that your dinner plans have changed, and you are going to a restaurant that you have never been to before. Your feelings about this are closer to which of the following:
- a.) “Why didn’t I get to pick the place? I never get what I want.”
- b.) “What if there is nothing there that I can eat? I will be hungry and I don’t know what will happen or when I would be able to get something else to eat if I don’t like it.”
- c.) “This is typical. I will let everyone know how annoyed I am at dinner, and how wrong it was for them to change the plans. What jerks.”
- d.) “Oh, cool. I love to try new things. Maybe this will end up being a new favorite restaurant for me.”
5. At night when you lie down to fall asleep, which best describes the thoughts you tend to have?
- a.) “It’s already late. There are so many things I didn’t get to do or say that I wanted to. Now I probably won’t sleep well either.”
- b.) “I wonder if I will sleep well tonight? What if I don’t and I am tired tomorrow? How will I function?”
- c.) “So many people upset me today, and now because of them, I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight either.”
- d.) “Ahh, peaceful rest. It’s so nice to have a place to rest my head for the night.”
You can notice that in each question the external events didn’t change, just the dialogue about what you might have said to yourself about the sample situation changed.
If you answered mostly A’s, sadness and depressive thoughts can tend to guide you the most. By living in the past and seeing the downside of everything, your entire existence can be shaped to see only the negative in things. If you’d like to change this, consider staying more present and not living in the past. Each new encounter you have can be looked at with fresh eyes. Next time you find yourself being negative or down about your situation, try changing your internal dialogue. Saying things like, “This is difficult, but I can handle it,” can significantly change how you experience your day.
If you answered mostly B’s, fear and anxiety may guide you the most. Spending most of your thoughts on future thinking can make you feel like you can never catch up, and that can feel very overwhelming and scary. If you are always worried about what might happen, you miss out what is actually happening. Instead of living in a future that hasn’t happened yet, try staying focused on keeping your thoughts in the present moment. By doing so, you will keep yourself open to whatever comes your way.
If you answered mostly C’s, anger and frustration tend to rule your world. Expressing yourself can be a good thing, but be mindful that you aren’t living in a cartoon world. If you wake up every day and expect that the world be a certain way and then things don’t go that way, you will always be let down. It’s not about lowering your expectations, just being more realistic. When you can do this, you may find yourself not as frustrated all the time.
If you answered mostly D’s: Kudos to you! By being able to stay present an adapt to ever changing situations, life can be easier for you. One thing that is guaranteed in life is that things will change. If you continue to adapt to situations, happiness is certainly in your future.